Two weeks after the start of the spring semester, there is a serious spike in coronavirus cases at the University of New Hampshire.
During the pandemic, the school has been operating at alert levels of yellow, orange or red. With this most recent spike in cases, UNH is now in the orange level, which means students are taking their classes online and they can’t visit any other dorms.
“It’s really inevitable at this point,” UNH sophomore Nate Chisholm said.
On Thursday, the school reported 80 new positive cases. That’s five times the number of cases reported just a week before.
“The move to the orange mode is our pause,” explained UNH Police Chief and Vice President of UNH Public Safety and Risk Management Paul Dean.
Dean said the 270 active cases at the university are likely the result of community spread and not a single event.
“I don’t think it’s one specific thing right now. We can’t point it to one specific thing,” he explained.
Orange mode also means gatherings are limited to six people.
As a result, the 500 students who were planning to attend the Friday night Wildcats hockey game at the Whittemore Center will now have to stay home.
“A bunch of people were excited to get back with their friends and support the Wildcats and all that, but it’s all cancelled now,” UNH senior Lali Karibushi said.
“Yeah, it’s a letdown that it got canceled,” said UNH junior Jessica Delaney.
It would’ve been the first indoor sporting event in the state with fans in the stands since the pandemic started.
“I feel for everybody,” said Durham resident Paul Rasmussen. “They all are missing out on, what’s for them, a significant portion of their life.”
People who live in the area say they’re disappointed for the students, but not surprised.
“I think the school is doing what it can to say, ‘Let’s go remote, let’s see if we can put a pause on this,’” said Tracy Phillips, who lives in nearby Exeter.
Dean said the university will reevaluate the orange mode of operation after two weeks of additional testing. As for allowing fans at hockey games, he said that’s on hold for the foreseeable future.